We’ve all been there. You order a pair of shoes online that you love and wait in anticipation for them to be delivered to your doorstep. The day finally comes when they arrive, you try them on, and they don’t fit. Now, your day party, brunch — or whatever kind of turn up you like to go to — fit is back to square one.
Nike wants to make sure this kind of fashion let down doesn’t happen to another poor soul with the use of augmented reality.
Today, the shoe giant announced its Nike Fit feature, which uses technology to scan a customer’s foot to help them find the perfect shoe size. Nike claims that 60 percent of people are wearing the wrong shoe size. That seems like a high number of people wearing size 10s when they’re supposed to be wearing 11s, but its not surprising given how e-commerce has impacted the shoe industry.
Finding the right shoe size online is hard. Unless you carry a Brannock device — the metal thing you stick your foot in at shoe stores — it can be difficult to know whether or not you’re purchasing the right shoe.
Here’s the non-technical explanation of how it works: The app scans each of your feet individually, then uses the data to suggest the perfect fit based on the shoe you plan on purchasing. For instance, if you’re trying to buy a pair of Air Maxes, the app would collect data from the scan of your foot and recommend the best size for you for that particular shoe. If you’re going to purchase another kind of Nike shoe, you’ll see a different size.
The program uses computer vision, data science, AI, and algorithmic data, according to a press release from the company.
Beyond this just being cool, it positions Nike in the tech space in a big way. The company plans to use the new program not only in its app but also in its brick and mortar stores. They want to make it the premiere way people are fitted for shoes. Here’s how Nike’s Vice President of Direct Products, Michael Martin, broke down the company’s tech aspirations to TechCrunch:
“Fundamentally, at this stage, Nike is a technology company. It’s a technology company that builds upon its historical strengths in footwear design, storytelling and inspiration, and it’s able to use those in combination to solve problems that no one else can solve,” says Martin. “We think this is arguably our biggest solution to date.”
The new tech from Nike, if successful, could change the game in retail, both in person and online. As TechCrunch’s Rae Witte points out, it could be used for more than shoes and could really transform the way we make our fashion purchases.
“One can imagine women being able to use the tech to find the right bra size. It could also make buying denim easier. As individualism and inclusivity have become marketing tools, custom fit seems like a natural next step, but until now, there hasn’t been a clear-cut solution.”
It’s expected to launch in July of 2019.